Saturday 16th September 2006
I hated coffee. It tasted bitter and burnt my tongue. I cradled it in my hands as I sat at the cafeteria table in the hospital. I was by the window and so I could see the dark grey world. It was going to rain, static hung in the air for an oncoming storm. Doctors and nurses came in and out, the odd person like me coming in and reading a newspaper.
Logan had appeared during the night but there was no Carmen. She was away in Michigan with her own family- having her baby shower and shopping. Logan was meant to meet with her, but, obviously, his plans had changed. He was still up in the room- probably talking to Dr Cullen.
I glanced over when Seth came, bringing a carton of chocolate milk and some muffins with him. He smiled, sitting across from me and handing the chocolate milk over. I smiled a little- he must know how bad hospital coffee was. He gave me the chocolate muffin- my favourite- and took the blueberry one for himself. We were quiet for a while, just listening to the tacky guitar music coming in from the radio in the nurses station. I chewed my muffin, trying not to think too much. I was horribly tired and probably a bit moody. However, it was nice to wake up with Seth and know it wasn't against the rules.
"Do you have to go to the pack?" I asked him quietly, feeling numb.
"No." He said. I glanced up just as he swallowed the last of his muffin. "Hell no. You're more important."
"But it's the pack-"
"Everything is alright now." He smiled, leaning back in his seat. "With the pack, anyway. We still need to sort out a few things but it's okay."
"As long as you're sure." I mumbled, crossing my legs. I brushed the crumbs off the table and joined my hands together tightly.
Grandpa wasn't dying. Dr Cullen had assured me that. He was just very unwell. When he fell off the ladder- on the second to top step- of the attic, he fell on his hip and cracked it. The corner of the wall was also in the way and so that was why he had such a large bandage around his head. They said they had to sew the skin up and that he had lost blood.
It didn't sound right- all those technical medical terms that stung my ears. This wasn't meant to happen to someone like my grandfather. Not him- not the good, kind, selfless person I knew so well. I couldn't bring myself to cry. I was too angry at the world.
I knew all too well what would happen after this.
I peeked up at him. He was looking out the window, his dark hair waving around him in a messy disarray. I knew Seth Clearwater's face so well. He was a tall man child with boyish looks, a straight nose and a defined jaw. His eyes, however, would always remain their youthful brown- molten whenever he looked at me. They glanced at me and he smiled- knowing I had been watching him.
"Enjoying the view Miss Hund?"
"Mmm." I mumbled, crossing my arms and smiling a little at him. It was a mask, my smile, though. Something to keep him happy, to keep him from devastation.
It wouldn't last.
My heart beat like a drum as I gazed outside. It began to drizzle, droplets clinging to the window panes. The wind whistled around the buildings and echoed through me. My throat closed up when I looked back to him. He was watching me intently, his eyes tracing a silent fear.
"What is it?" He asked hollowly. I noticed his hands began to quiver and he quickly placed them under the table and out of my sight. Tears stung in my sinuses and I breathed out shakily.
"Things... are going to change now." I whispered, my voice very gentle. I brought my hands together, interlocking my fingers.
"What do you mean?" He questioned, looking at me like a very frightened animal. He suddenly looked paler, thinner, shadows flickering around his face. I was taken back to the spring- when he had dreams so vile that he couldn't sleep. The thought made me wince.
"You wouldn't remember but three years ago when my parents died and the state handed me and my brother over to my grandparents, there was a sort of pact." My voice was unusually clear. "That if one of them got ill... I would have to be sent away."
His eyes widened but before either of us could say anything, my brother's voice sounded behind me. I jumped a little, looking around to him.
"Hey guys," he said, coming forward, twisting his car keys in his right hand. "I'm gonna go to the house to get some things, do you want to come?"
"Sure." I uttered, standing and pulling down my jumper sleeves. Logan smiled sadly at me.
"Cool." He said. "You coming Seth?" He asked him. I glanced to him, seeing him stand very gingerly and look at me with an expression I couldn't really understand. We began to walk out of the cafeteria and when we got outside I pulled up my hood. Logan ran ahead to his little dark blue car and just as I was about to follow him, Seth grabbed my arm. I looked around, my heart pumping loudly. The wind howled as he looked at me with afraid eyes.
"What are you talking about, Eve?" He said over the gale. "You can't leave!"
I took my arm out of his grip and he let me. The rain stained his dark shirt, dripping down his hair and onto his face. His face was a mask of hurt and disbelief. Yet again my throat closed up and I turned to run, getting into the car quickly.
"What is he doing?" Logan asked as he turned on the heating. He rubbed his palms together, glancing at me through the mirror.
I gazed out the window, seeing Seth stare after me, the wind lifting his hair.
"I don't know." I whispered.
He began to come forward, getting slowly into the car and staring forward. I pulled up my legs and looked out my own window, my head clouded with so many emotions. These feelings... they were as fresh to me as if my parents had died yesterday. A lump rose in my throat as we drove away from the hospital. There were other emotions as well- one's I didn't understand. Like they weren't even mine.
When we got to the house Seth got up quickly, slamming the door behind him. I breathed shakily, getting out too, walking around the car and up to the cold, hollow house.
Logan was grabbing clothes from upstairs, throwing them in a large gym bag he fished out from under his old bed. I stirred a mug of tea, the sound of rain pelting down on the roof above me. The sound replicated through out the house.
Seth gazed out the kitchen window, a metre or so away from me. I swallowed. He drummed his fingers lightly on the counter, his muscles rigid.
"Send you away." He said mildly. I blinked, continuing to stir the tea, feeling terror run through me. "They can't do that. You've been through too much."
I placed the spoon down. "They don't care about that." I murmured. "They said it wouldn't be right for me to spend time away from school just because one of my grandparents was ill." My stomach did a little flip and I leant against the counter. "I wouldn't go to a foster home... I think." I whispered. "I'd have to live with my aunt."
"No." He said sternly. I looked to him, confused.
"No, this isn't happening." He uttered, coming forward quickly and gazing down at me. I was pressed against the wall, blinking in surprise. He gently placed his hands on my shoulders. "Evelyn,no. Don't you understand that I literally can't live without you?"
I felt so small and I ducked my head. "You can't change the whole government, Seth."
His chest rumbled and his hand came up to cup my cheek. "I know people who can." He said gently, determination in his eyes. "I love you, Evelyn Hund. Don't you dare give up."
I swallowed, my cheeks red with him being so close. My throat was thick with tears and my bottom lip quivered. "I don't want to leave you, either." I said softly. "B-but-"
"No." He murmured, giving me an intense stare. "There are things I haven't told you yet and I will tell you those things, Evelyn. You're not leaving me."
He gently pressed his warm lips to mine- only for a brief moment- and then he was gone, out the kitchen door. I ran to the sink, staring out the window to see him run down the backyard, pulling off his shirt as he went. I gasped, clutching my throat and sliding down onto the floor, tears breaking in my eyes. He couldn't do those things to me and then just leave so suddenly... it was too much, too intense.
"Lynnie?" Logan called, coming down the hall. "Did you turn the kettle on-"
He stopped speaking once he saw me and sighed, coming over to sit by me. "Where did Seth go?"
"I-I..." I tried to breathe. "I d-don't know..."
"Is he being a jerk to you?" Logan asked very gently, placing his hand on my shoulder and looking at me.
"N-no! Of course not!" I exclaimed a little too loudly. "He wants the best... for... me..." I sobbed, covering my face with my hands, feeling so embarrassed. "I had to tell him," I wheezed, "that things will change now..." I sniffed, sobs still sounding in my throat. "That I'll have to go."
Logan brought down my hands, his eyes unbearably sad. "Evelyn... I'm so sorry."
"It's not your fault." I uttered, rubbing my nose, tears still falling from my eyes. "It's nobody's fault."
"I don't know what to do..." He stressed, pulling his knees up to his chest. "I knew this would happen eventually... mom's parents are gone so I knew dad's would be soon enough. It could have happened at any time." He swallowed. "Carmen wants to move to Michigan." He said quietly. "Wants me to quit college... get a job at this little diner in her home town. She can't be so far away from her family, especially with the baby." He sighed, rubbing his eyes. "I worked so hard to get into that stupid college... to get my job, to make friends with my professors." He gazed to me, his blue eyes murky as he ran a hand through his long blonde hair. "And for what? Nothing?"
"Life... sometimes... takes you on a different course." I couldn't believe I was saying it really- I was devastated that Logan was going to move so far away. But, I knew he needed support more than he needed bullying by me. I rubbed my cheeks and sighed.
"Aunty Abby is really nice, though." Logan murmured as we both looked ahead. "Even if she is mad about eating vegetables." He chuckled.
I smiled sadly, looking to him. "Logan, I can't leave Seth." I said quietly. "I don't know what it is... but it's like there's this force pulling me to him, like a magnet. I couldn't live with myself if I were to leave."
He blinked, letting out a shaky sigh and wrapping an arm around me, pulling me close for a hug. "Evelyn, promise me you won't do anything stupid."
I closed my eyes, breathing in. My lungs hurt, my heart hurt, my whole body hurt. "I promise."
The covering of darkness was above me as I walked. The wind whistled around me, the rain soaking my skin and clothes. I didn't know why, but I couldn't phase. I moved sluggishly through the woods, the sounds of howls far away- like a distant memory.
I began to remember the nightmares I had all those months ago. As I thought, I realised those nightmares weren't too dissimilar from what I was going through right now.
I felt restless, angered but most of all devastated. The fire crackled in my bones but it wasn't going anywhere... wasn't making me into a beast. It was tedious.
However, all the same, I found my way to the house near the lake. The lights were off but her window was open, the curtains billowing out like sails. I quickly scaled the drainpipe, anxious that she was getting cold. I slid in through the window and looked forward, seeing she was curled up on her side- away from me. Turning back around, I closed the window tightly and shut the curtains.
When I turned back, she was sitting up and watching me. As I edged closer, I found myself in awe of her eyes- which were like dark sapphires. The room around me sort of... faded away as I drooped on the end of her bed, my anger from earlier dissipating.
"Are you okay?" She whispered, rushing over quickly to take my hands. A shiver ran through me at the contact of her. She was freezing. "Seth?"
She smiled sadly, pulling me in for a hug, squeezing me softly. "I hope you're not angry at me." She murmured tearfully.
"Of... of course not." I said shakily back, feeling completely foolish at my sudden lack of ability to speak. She leant back, kneeling now, her hair falling messily around her. She looked so tired, so grey and pale. I was dreadfully worried for her. Her eyes looked hollow, unbearably sad as she gazed up at me.
"Where did you go?" She gulped, pulling the covers around her frail body.
"I talked with the Cullen's." I said quietly, looking down at my hands. Tiny scars were all over my skin- thin, silver-like. I had never really noticed them but the fringes of moonlight coming through the gaps in the curtains made them visible. "About... things."
"Carlisle?" She asked hopefully. I glanced at her and shook my head.
"No... he hasn't come back yet. Esme said he's taking care of your grandfather, though."
She breathed out, flopping down on her back and gazing at the ceiling. For a long moment we were both silent and then I crawled over, getting under the covers. She glanced at me.
"What did you talk about then?" She murmured, turning on her side.
I swallowed, just wanting to pull her into my arms and keep her warm. However, I kept my distance and breathed out shakily, looking to the ceiling above me.
"When I said I can't live without you... I was pretty serious." I said quietly. A part of me still thought she didn't quite believe me when I said I loved her. "The Cullen's know people who can get things- like passports and ID's. It's not totally legal but they're really believable. Nobody could tell the difference. So, what I proposed was that..." My throat suddenly got tight and I coughed. "That we... erm... left. And went some place, just on our own. Keep each other safe."
The silence that followed was unbearable. After what seemed like an eternity, I looked to her, seeing she had closed her eyes. My heart started to beat faster as I saw the tears, falling softly down her cheeks. She blinked, her eyes misted as she looked to me.
"There... isn't any other way, is there?"
"No." I whispered.
She sniffed, nodding a little. "Then... I agree."
I jumped up, breathing out in relief and hugging her tightly. "Oh thank god... thank god..."
"S-Seth." She whispered, surprised by my sudden attack. I smiled, looking down at her. "Wait... did you say I keep you safe?"
I shrugged. "Of course you do. You're... very peaceful." I said, laying back down, wrapping my arms around her. "Calm... the perfect thing for somebody like me. You keep me sane, I guess."
She smiled, shaking her head and peeking at me shyly. "I suppose that's right. Good answer."
"Why thank you." I grinned, giving her a wink. She blushed, hiding her face in my chest.
"Seth... my grandparents would be devastated." She said quietly, voicing her worst fears. I looked down to her, my body being affected by her feelings- fear, loss.
"But at least we'd be together." I told her. She stared up at me, tears still in her eyes.
"That's the only thing that matters, isn't it?"
I smiled, nodding. "Yes, it's the only thing that matters."
The next morning
The hospital was a little more busy today- the storm from yesterday meant there were more accidents. All the people made me a little nervous but it was okay. I had Seth's hand firmly in mine. And that was the only thing that mattered.
"Mr Jonathan Hund." Logan said to the woman at the nurses station. "We're his visitors."
She smiled and nodded, finding the room number and sending a message across that we were here. Seth and I followed Logan to the elevator and we waited inside with a little old lady who was holding the hand of a jumpy toddler. The girl looked up at me with her big blue eyes and beamed. I smiled back and she giggled, huddling into her grandmother who smiled a little at me, apologising quietly.
We got to the floor and Seth pulled me out. I waved at the little girl and she laughed, waving at me too. I didn't know what it was about me, but it put a smile on her face.
"Why was she laughing at me? Am I that ugly?" I asked worriedly. Seth chuckled, pulling me closer.
"No, she was giggling because she saw our hands together." He whispered in my ear. "She turned to me and wiggled her eyebrows."
My cheeks turned pink. "Oh."
"It was quite funny, actually." He smiled, kissing my cheek before we went into the room.
"Ah, Evelyn." Dr Cullen smiled at me. I nodded a little towards him, coming into the room to see my grandfather was sitting up, looking very spaced out.
"Grandpa!" I exclaimed, running to him and hugging him. He chuckled breathlessly and I leant back. "You're awake... is he alright?" I asked, looking at Carlisle. He sighed, placing his hands on the end of the bed.
"We're taking him in for an MRA in an hour or so. We did one of his head when he first came in- to check how bad the swelling was- but we need to do a full body scan." He told us calmly. "As for vital signs, he's doing okay. Not brilliant, but not terrible either."
I breathed out, sitting down in the chair next to the bed.
"Thank you doctor." Logan murmured, coming forward to hug my grandfather too. Grandma came over to me, hugging my shoulders, sniffing. She leant back and smiled at Seth, patting his shoulder as she passed. Seth then came over, giving me a look which told me to get up. I did, and he sat down, pulling me onto his lap.
"Do you feel okay grandpa?" I asked. He looked to me, blinking tiredly.
"He's on a lot of painkillers, sweetie." Grandma said for him. "I'm pretty sure he's in his own world."
I nodded, curling up in Seth's lap as he wrapped an arm around me. Grandma smiled a little at us but quickly looked away when my eyes flickered to her.
We stayed in the room for a while, laughing with grandpa as he sleepily told us stories from his youth. He chuckled, saying how he had met grandma at a summer dance- the theme was cowboy's and cowgirls and so the story was pretty funny.
After a while Dr Cullen came back, his yellow eyes a little wary. "There is some people to see you, Evelyn? And you too, Mrs Hund."
"What?" I said, looking to him, confused.
"I had to tell them about your grandfather's condition-"
"My condition! So many terms and conditions these days..." Grandpa piped up, sounding like a slightly mad army general.
"Yes, well, he has a permit-"
I stood shakily but Seth grabbed my hand before I could walk away with my grandmother. I looked around to him as my grandma began to talk hurriedly to Carlisle.
"It's them isn't it?" I whispered, feeling hollow. Seth nodded, his fingers wrapping around my wrist. He then very gently let go, breathing out.
I bit my lip and ran to my grandma, taking her arm as Dr Cullen led us away and into a private board room with a projector screen. A man in a dark suit sat at the wooden table, a briefcase in front of him. There was a small woman too, dressed in bright clothing, her hair dyed dark purple and it was short, waving over her head. She looked no older than thirty. The man stood when we came in and shook my grandmother's hand as we sat. Dr Cullen sat a little ways down the table, only there if we needed him. The man ran a hand through his long black hair and smiled at us, placing his elbows on the table.
"I'm Mr Guildwright, from Penthouse Law Industries- the law house that dealt with the death of the late Mr and Mrs Hund- junior." He said, glancing at the sheet of paper he had got out of his briefcase. "And this is Miss Ava Lackrost. She is from child services." He told us, gesturing to Ava and she smiles warmly at us. Mr Guildwright continued. "As for the recent events, it is state law that children under the age of eighteen without a suitable guardian must be put in the hands of the state." He said carefully, his words well rehearsed. "Mr Jonathan Hund, Dr Cullen told me, is in an... unstable condition, and because of this Mrs Hund, yourself," he nodded towards my grandmother, "is also unstable, and therefore can no longer be reliant to look after you, Miss Evelyn."
"But she's my granddaughter!" Grandma gasped, hugging my arm. "You can't take her away- she's too frail, she's been through too much-"
"I'm afraid the law still stands, Mrs Hund." Said Mr Guildwright."And as for a Mrs Abigail Baun," he said, reading off the sheet again, "Law has changed in recent years and children cannot be put into the hands of another country."
"But it's Canada." I whispered.
He ignored my words. "Mr Logan Hund, I have been told, is currently in a state of distress, so he cannot be reliable for the care of Miss Evelyn Hund."
"No..." I murmured.
"Miss Lackrost will drive you to your residence and wait while you pack a bag. Then you will go to Happy Hearts Foster Home where there is a room prepared for you." He said, reading off the sheet. "If you have any further questions, contact my associates." He then slid the paper over to my grandma and stood, pulling his briefcase up with him.
"Mr Guildwright-" Carlisle began, standing too.
"I'm sorry, Dr Cullen. There is nothing I can do." He said.
Grandma began to wail, hugging me tightly. I just gazed to the door, breathing out gently as the man left – taking with him every shred of hope I had.